Thursday, 31 December 2015

When You Deserve to be Grounded

It's one of those small stories which got noted on US nightly news.....maybe 30 seconds devoted to it.....maybe a page two item in your local newspaper.

Secret Service crew (four) were on the job up in New Hampshire.....on a detail revolving around Hillary Clinton and her campaign tour there.  She's the wife of Bill, thus requiring protection around the clock.

It's winter in New Hampshire.....real winter.

The crew were luckily in a Ford Taurus....which has a fair amount of protection.  They were going south on state road 16.  From the opposite direction.....a Mercury Sable crossed the line (double yellow) and hit the Taurus.

Accidents occur in winter up in New Hampshire all the time, and you could blame ice or snow.

The thing is....the one guy dead from the the Sable.....45-year-old Bruce Danforth.....has had seven different occasions where he's been charged with serious driving violations.  Seven times.....his license was revoked or suspended.  Somehow, he just kept coming back.

Cops are checking the body and will do a full autopsy (drug test included).

Somewhere around age forty (2010) Bruce started having issues.  Around a year ago.....he had the most recent various newspapers tell the story.  His license?  Suspended.  He was driving on his last day of life....on a revoked license.  More than likely.....something will be found in his system....drugs or alcohol.

I have a particular opinion about these type of drivers.  I'm a reasonable guy who believes in people getting second chances.  Beyond that.....I don't believe in third or fourth or fifth chances.

This is the kind of guy who you need to sit down after the second offense involving alcohol and an accident.....and put into some Army boot-camp atmosphere for two months.  After the third episode.....just drag the guy off to some state prison facility for ten years.

I would make a guess on any given day in the US.....there are at least ten-thousand such drivers on the road.....permanently attached to booze or drugs in such a way that they can't safely drive anymore.  Somehow.....the vast majority make it through the day in an accidental sort of way.  A couple of them will have a minor accident, and someone will have to die in some miserable accident to trigger a judge to take substantial actions.

Germany has this little understanding about such drivers.  They have a car program where if you are proven to be untrusting in your behavior.....the only car you can have in your possession is a little small twenty horse-power vehicle which is limited 25kph (around 17 mph).  It's like an enclosed go-kart....with no hyped-up speed.  It's adequate to go and get groceries or see the doctor.....or to drive to work (figure a 90-minute drive if your job is 25 miles away).  It's built in such a way that if you got real foolish and caused an'd be guaranteed to be the person killed.

At least for the four Secret Service agents.....they are bruised up and probably won't be on duty for the next month....but they will survive.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Beginning of the End Foolishness

There's a piece over at MSNBC today about the 2015 being the beginning of the least for those enthusiastic about climate change, global warming, and global cooling. It was a short-winded discussion over how 2015 was a terrible thing for climate change and it's big indicator of course.....for the beginning of the end.

The 'end-of-times' enthusiasm is one of those odd historical things which tend to come up often and get proclaimed a fair bit.

It was the beginning of the end.....when Reggie Jackson wrapped up his last year at the Yankees in 1981.....or at least some Yankee fans believe that.

It was the beginning of the end....when Bear Bryant left the University of Alabama in 1982....or at least some (ten-percent) of Alabama football fans believe that.

It was the beginning of the end....when in the early part of 1920....prohibition came and alcohol ceased to exist in America....or at least some hard-drinkers believed that for a few weeks until someone offered them booze from under the counter.

It was the beginning of the end....when some woke up to realize that the Soviets had the nuke bomb....or at least some folks believed that.

It was the beginning of the end....when in November of 1988....some Americans woke up to realize that George H. W. Bush had lost the election....mostly because of Ross Perot taking 19-million votes across the US.

It was the beginning of the end.....when Columbus landed in 1492....and the America fell into the hands of the Europeans.

It was the beginning of the end....when women got the right to vote.

It was the beginning of the end....when Americans landed on Normandy.

For some reason, days will pass and the beginning of the end will reoccur tomorrow morning....pretty much on schedule, and then pass on.

I'm not much of a believer in the beginning of the end business.  It gets old after a while.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Air Force Changed Their Mind

I came to my Wall Street Journal yesterday, and there was probably the most shocking news of 2015.....the Air Force had finally admitted defeat.....agreeing to take enlisted guys as drone pilots.

Around a dozen years ago, I stood during a pause at work (on Ramstein) with an associate and we were discussing the beginning of issues for the Air Force drone program.....recruitment of drone pilots.  The Air Force had mandated that only pilots (officers) could fly the drones.

As a drone pilot.....the scenario was drawn.  You would work your magic to get accepted to the AF officers program, and then work more magic to be accepted as a pilot.  Somewhere after that initial pilot a bomber, tanker, cargo, or fighter pilot.....would be pushed into a room and there Lt Col so-v-so would note that you were 'special' and needed to go to the base in Vegas to be a drone pilot.

Pilots hated the offer....mostly because it wasn't really an offer....they were going to handcuff to an impossible deal to turn down.  You'd be offered the follow-on dream assignment in three Florida or California.....or be given the dream airframe (F-16).....or be offered a golden ticket to make Major or Lt Col.

A mission meant you showed up at a certain a cup of coffee....and proceeded to sit inside of a cubical-like structure in an executive-style ergonomically-friendly chair, with a couple of big screens, some pilot-like knobs and controls, and put on a head-piece to hear chatter from a dozen-odd people.  Air conditioning ran in the could excuse yourself for a couple of minutes to hit the 'head'....and you could munch on a ham sandwich that you made that morning.

The Air Force eventually got around to handing out medals.....which pepped up half the guys, but made the other half miserable because they were merely earning some big-name medal while sitting in a building with no real activity other than flying a drone in the middle of a war-zone.

As time went by.....guys got negative about the assignment, the duty, the killing missions, and the long hours.  Recruitment got to be more and more of a problem.  Earlier in 2015, they were actually considering hiring contractors to be drone pilots, and that got the ethical experts in the Air Force and Pentagon all disturbed.  So, they did the impossible.....they opened the front door and admitted that enlisted could be drawn into the program.

Oh, the general did comment in the Wall Street Journal that there was lots of pieces to the idea to be worked out yet, and there would have to be a ton of training for the first enlisted guy to be allowed on a mission.  The hindrance to all of this?  There is a mentality about having a drone worth several million dollars in the hands of a mere enlisted guy.....someone who isn't a Air Force pilot to start with.

On any given day at a typical Air Force base.....I'd take a guess that forty enlisted guys are sitting in the barracks for a Saturday.....spending sixteen hours in their own personalized cubicle in the dorm room.....flying their own video game drone or fighter on some mission.  They munch through a sandwich, drink Mountain Dew, and take a four-minute break at the 'head'.  They wrap up the mission with a pizza and go to sleep.....happily.  No one offers them some special assignment deal, a promotion deal, or dream air-frame.  This was their idea of a day off.

Across the Air Force.....there's probably over 10,000 enlisted guys with video skills and willingness to move onto drone-pilot tomorrow.  Oh, there will be examinations, tests, and they will only recruit the 'purest of the pure' to fit into their theme of the professional pilot.

My humble guess is that they will only take enlisted guys or gals who've been in the service more than six years....have a minimum of an associates degree....and pass at least two complete mental examinations on stress.

As the initial year concludes and fifty such enlisted guys arrive in Vegas and take up the art of drone pilots....there will be some high expectations, and ninety-five percent of the guys last out the first year in a successful way.  One or two idiots will demonstrate alcohol or drug issues and get dismissed rather quickly.  After five years.....folks will be kinda surprised that enlisted guys will make up seventy-percent of the drone-pilot core.  Some guys will even ask for a year or two extension because they are having so much 'fun'.

Special incentives offered to the enlisted guys?  In the end, other than a leather jacket....nothing will be offered.  The amusing thing is that these computer geek guys were always the perfect fit into the job.  Other than maybe free Mountain Dew or a better chair for the mission.....that's about all they'd wish for.

Monday, 28 December 2015

The Bad Luck Beach House

Alabama (my home state) has a VIP governor's mansion (well, a nice big bungalow would be a better term) down on the beach at Gulf Shores.

This was a prime real estate spot in the early 1960s....which was donated to the state and a major residence for the governor was established.  It's a 7,500 sq ft house, which by most standards.....if it were in good'd be worth over two or three million dollars.

Oddly....around 1997....a hurricane came through and did a major destruction job on the residence.  Nothing....absolutely nothing has been done with the house since that hurricane.  It is by most standards today....unlivable.

If you brought up this topic with folks from the state....more than ninety-nine percent would note they know nothing much about the house existing.  The one-percent who claim some knowledge will be over the age of sixty-five and remember the era of which Governor Wallace gained the real estate and talked some folks into funneling private money (probably corrupt campaign funds) into the construction of the residence.

For roughly seventeen years.....the Alabama legislature has refused to fund any repair job on the residence.  To be one will even stand in a public forum and say the precise amount of money required.  My humble guess....if the walls are still solid (as pictures indicate)'d have to replace the roof entirely, do a major landscaping job, and throw a major interior renovation job into the place.  My humble guess on cost?  A minimum of one million dollars.

Why bring this topic up?  Well....over the weekend, the Alabama news folks came to discover that the Governor has finally found this funding vehicle to cover the cost of renovation of the beachfront house in Gulf Shores.  Yes, he's got the bucket of money left over from the BP oil spill.....which he intends to use.

CBS News put out a piece which says the most recent estimate by the Governor's staff has the price-tag of $1.5 million as a minimum.  I'd take a guess this includes renovation, landscaping, security, and new fancy furniture for the whole residence.

How to convince the public of the necessity of this deal?  Well....the Governor says he needs a place to 'wine and dine' VIP guests to Alabama where they talk business deals and try to convince high-rollers to move their company operation into Alabama.  All of this spend make money.

The use of the BP money?  Once you bring this topic up.....suddenly most folks in Alabama get ethical in nature and ask stupid questions.  The bucket that BP dumped the money into?  Well, there never was any real set of rules and it was just 'wild-money' (as some folks from Bama would describe the thousand-odd ways that you can use such money).

Stopping the Governor?  Presently....he's the guy who kinda owns the BP money bucket and he owns the beachfront there's really not much the legislature can do to stop him, and I doubt if any public group will raise a big stink other than the state Democratic Party.

The odd factor in this story?  The Governor might actually spend $2 million on the final bill to renovate the old structure, and six weeks later find some hurricane bearing down on the residence.....destroying the entire effect of the BP oil money and the Governor's good intentions.  I wouldn't wish anyone such luck.....but this is Alabama and the Gulf coast.....and it's just one of those things that you figure will happen....sooner or later.

The Spring-Winter

This is one of the oddest winters that I've seen in my entire life.  Since the middle of December here in central Germany....there hasn't been a single day that the temperature has gone down below freezing.  No freezing.

So yesterday, with the fourth straight day of sunshine and the daytime temperature rising up to 65 degrees....I came to notice on two shrubs around the corner of the house.....buds are coming out.  The shrubs are in some belief that spring has arrived and gone into a slight bloom.

I'm sitting here and shaking my head.  Heat-wise....since 1 October when I hit the "on" button....I doubt if I've used more than half of what I'd normally use for natural gas.  Scrapping ice off the car window?  There's been three single mornings since October where I had to scrap ice.

To some should make most people happy with the sunshine and limited rainfall.....and weather warm enough to almost wear shorts (at least at mid-day).  But Germans aren't that type of people.  They expect snow (at least up to your ankle), and a cold breeze from the north.  They are in some way....disenchanted with this mild situation.

More of the same?  I sat and looked at the seven-day chart.  Maybe by might finally go below the freezing point, with a half inch of snow predicted for Saturday night or Sunday morning.  But that means at least five more days of spring-like weather and more trees/shrubs coming out in some bloom phase.  It's a harsh reality, if you ask me.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

When Fantasy-Reality Hits Reality

This morning, I picked up this story of a Canadian guy (in his fifties) who had decided to go transgender with a twist.....he wanted to be a six-year old girl.

Yeah, it's one of those weird stories.

Apparently this guy and wife have split up.....he's gone to this fantasy lifestyle, and now living with his fantasy 'father' and 'mother' (you can guess the living arrangement and how this would work in the real world.

There are these occasions when you know that you are near the end of the tunnel, and reality is about to hit fantasy-reality in the face.

So, I'll go ahead and predict the situation within two years.  Some ten-year old girl will have convinced her mother that she's not really ten years old....that she's really twenty-five years old, and will sue in court for full independent privileges in include a drivers license, ability to open bank accounts, and the ability to get a job.

Some liberal judge will get this ten-year-old kid in the court room and try to reach some lesson in life experience for the kid.  He'll fail.  The kid will say that she's not really ten years old, and that the judge needs to deem her a full-up adult, with full privileges.  The judge will eventually have to stamp the documentation complete and allow this dimwit girl to pretend to be an adult.

Some company will even hire the ten-year-old.....just to make a point, and some reality TV series will likely come out of the whole situation.

We are at some crossroads in life where you can think of yourself in any way, shape, or form.  If you want to be a be it.  If you want to be a Starship be it.  If you want to be a trailer-trash intellectual be it. There is no limit.  If you need legal'll happen.  If you need a little operation to carve off pieces or add'll happen.  And oddly, none of this will bother half the population, because we've gotten so used to this behavior.

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Sheikh Story

I picked up a couple of local papers while visiting New York City last week.  There's a certain 'taste' or view of things there....that you won't find in most places (like Alabama for example).

So I came to the advertisements, and here was an entire page of ad's for spiritual healers and psychics.  You New York City....there's a fair number of folks who have fears or problems that normal means have no effect upon.  You end up meeting up with Sheikh Joe or Sheikh Marty, and use their special talents to fix your woes.

I looked at the list of general problems that they fix: love, court business, getting one's luck back, stress removal, depression, witchcraft, voodoo, negative energy, 'evil eyes', wife jealousy, husband jealousy, release from a spell, reunite you with a former lover or mistress, obeah (west Africa voodoo, as being different from regular Haitian voodoo), bad habits, business deals gone sour, etc.

It's hard to figure how a guy or gal reaches this stage where he'd go and visit Raman-Joe to get hooked back up with a former mistress or rid yourself of bad habit.

The 'evil-eye'?  Well....this is when someone sits across from you on the subway....glaring intently at your body....and casts some oddball spell upon you.  Usually, an evil-eye situation is unintentional and just an accidental curse (so I'm told).  Some gal might have noticed you didn't iron your pants this morning before leaving for work, or that you got some sugar-glaze on your chin from the three donuts you ate this morning.

There are 8.6 million people who live in the urban area of New York City.  It's hard to say how many are into this Sheikh Joe or Sheikh Marty deal.....but I'd take a guess that 200,000 see their local Sheikh at least once a year.  No one talks about prices or discounts.  They'd probably review your 'evil-eye' situation and try to tie it into a $200 fee and a second visit for more spiritual healing.

As a kid growing up in Alabama.....about half-way into the county-seat....there was a gal who had a sign up as a palm-reader and spiritualist.  Within twenty miles, she was the only one around to handle this kind of business.  I'm guessing we didn't have too many 'evil-eyes' or voodoo situations going on.

Oddly, it's part of the landscape of America in 2015.  Folks feel something heavy upon themselves and unable to get past this frustration without some type of mystic solution.  They'd like to blame this on something, and voodoo sounds good enough to hook a problem upon.

Sadly, we are a society which has enough problems on our plate and need some way to lessen them.  The Sheikh fantasy least for some people.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The 9-11 Memorial

One of the things I toured in New York....was the 9-11 Memorial.

If you go to NY City, it's located down in the southern part of Manhattan.....near the Wall Street area. On the list of top ten things to see in New York.....I'd rate this within the group.  There is the indoor part and some waiting there....which I might skip.  The pool area is the area that I'd spend some time on.

It's a fairly moving memorial and on this Sunday afternoon in December....probably at least three or four thousand people around the two massive pools.

I made a circle around the two pools, and read the names quietly as I passed.

Then I came to this one point....Carl Max Hammond Jr.  The last name, being a family name which I know quiet well....stuck in my mind.

After I came back this weekend, I paused and looked up the story of Carl.

It is kinda interesting.  I don't know the guy and never remember hearing anything much of the guy.  Oddly, he is from north Alabama as well.....Huntsville.

Carl grew up in the Huntsville area....had an ample amount of science skills, and eventually ended up with a PhD in Physics.  The guy at some point packed up and moved to the northeast and got a job with Mitre working on government projects......and happened to be on a plane which was hijacked and rammed into the World Trade Center.

Generally, if you are a Hammond in north come from one branch of the family tree....the "Mister Jim" clan which arrived around 1819.  So he is a long distance member of the family.

The memorial draws upon you to reflect upon the moment and what these people went through.  2,753 people died at the Twin Towers.  Each had some element of contribution in life going on.  Some had promising careers, discoveries to made, or impacts upon science and life yet to be made.  Each cut short.

After a while, you kinda walk away from the memorial with this bad taste in your mouth.  Thugs crept through the holes of our system....intimidated us.....disturbed us in ways that one cannot themselves some brief moment of insane joy of doing something for a non-existent cause.  Maybe I'm in the one-percent crowd....but the memorial didn't work on me the way that it should.  I'm probably another ten-percent intensified about the negative nature of these thugs.

The "Late" Letter Sitting There

During my stay in New York City.....I stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel.  It was built in 1924 and was a fairly classy hotel for the next fifty-odd years.

Today, it's still a decent least by three-star standards and has a lot of historic charm left in it.

One of the odd things that it a mail point on each floor where you could write a letter in your room....put it in an envelope, and drop it into a opening where it would be deposited into a mail-box in the basement.

Yes, the letter would float down via this glass casing.....all the way to the basement.

Well....I stood on the 12th floor a few times and admired this glass casing....where this envelope was 'stuck'.  It may have been there months....perhaps even years.

One day....a maintenance guy will come along and just happen to glance up and note the letter stuck there.....and get some coat-hanger to mess with it and drop it.  It'll appear.....perhaps seven years after being mailed and the receiver will comment that it's odd he got this letter from an old friend who passed away five years ago, and there will be some 'mystery' there for the receiver to contemplate.  What happened and where was the letter sitting for the whole time?

Sometimes.....folks get around to blaming the post office for a lot of stupid things.  In some cases, they deserve the blame.  But this is one of those oddball things that just isn't the fault of the post office.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

It's just one of those odd things you notice (Statue of Liberty Isle), when visiting NYC.

This was a customized ATV.  I stood and admired it.  The total cost?  I would take a guess that the National Park Service spent at least $100,000 to buy this and outfit all the stuff on it.  This is to serve an island area of roughly forty acres.  If you can the walking areas, there's maybe three miles of sidewalk.

The thing is.....if you look at much weight it's carrying....I doubt if it gets more than fifteen miles per gallon at best.

New York City

I've spent the last week in New York City on a 'short' vacation.  To be honest, you really an entire week to experience NYC, but anything beyond that would be burn-out.....if you ask me.  So, my ten observations.

1.  Yes, people in NYC are that 'crazy' (as you might refer to Seinfeld's characters).  It doesn't matter where you go.....they just seem odd.  I might also note that I think over half the folks in the city are doing medical marijuana.....for some ailment or health episode.

2.  You are absolutely safe.  Cops are everywhere.  I don't think you can walk more than ten minutes in any direction without bumping into a cop.  I just can't think of a single occasion walking around town where I felt unsafe.  Even in seems safe (I might have been stupid walking around).

3.  It doesn't matter where you eat or'd best bring a ton of pocket money.  A single beer and cocktail will cost you around $22 (without the tip).  You want a steak dinner for two with drinks?  Figure $75.  Breakfast buffet at the Hotel Roosevelt?  $28, that's for one single person.

4.  A full-week's ticket on the subway system is $31 and probably the best value of anything you will come across.  It's the best way to see New York City and note some pretty bizarre characters that might entertain you either on the platform or in the cars themselves.  Yeah, the whole subway system is something out of the 1950s, but it's safe and a great way to get around town.  Oh, and that black mold stuff you see up on the ceiling....just don't pay any attention to it and wash your hands and face after you get out of the subway.

5.  Normally, mid-December would be a harsh time to do anything around NYC.....but this strange thing occurred while I was there.....the sun opened up and the temperatures got up to around 65 degrees.  I saw guys walking around in shorts and t-shirts one afternoon.

6.  You really don't know how bad traffic can be until you've gone to New York and tried to get from your hotel (roughly 14 miles) to JFK.  My limo guy just accepted it as normal, but on this Friday afternoon.....I even allowed myself 90 extra just barely worked out.  It took 130 minutes to cover 14 miles.

7.  The difference between Macys and Bloomingdales?  You could walk around Macys for hours and hours and probably spend $500 easily.  In Bloomingdales, it feels more like a show-room for upscale clothing and style, and you want to walk out after thirty minutes.  The thing is.....on the list of ten things you really need to need to do a walk of both places.

8.  Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  Generally, while it's best to go in mid-summer.....the crowds would make the experience impossible.  So, in mid-December.....I quietly boarded the ferry, quietly walked around the Statue of Liberty, and quietly did the tour of Ellis Island.  It was stress-free and without all the crowds.  Crowds basically make the whole experience impossible and lessen the whole experience.  I would offer this advice as well.....bring along some fruit or something to eat.....your offerings at either location are marginal.

9.  Walking in NY City.  A guy could easily walk ten miles in a single day and not realize it.  It simply makes sense to put on a pair of decent shoes and walk from neighborhood to neighborhood.  I'll admit, on a map display....walking from hotel X to point A....might take sixty minutes but it's the only way to see the city up close and personal.   This means you need a decent map, some idea of subway coverage (when you get ready to return), and a compass to give you bearings on direction.  As for asking for directions?  Well.....New Yorkers will rattle off a forty-word comment and simply point in a's best to just accept that and walk in that direction.  If you ask about the forty-word comment, this leads onto a 100-word comment, and then onto a 200-word comment, and eventually a 1,000-word comment.  Yeah, they do talk a bit if you let them.

10.  As a kid, I would marvel at the Today Show (NBC) background landscape around Christmas time.  There would be the Today Show camera guy giving shoots of the ice skating rink and the studio building.  Well, so I finally stood there and gazed at the ice skating rink.  At best, it's about the size of two plain regular basketball courts.  That's it.  You could probably put eighty skaters on there at one time (it'd be awful crowded).  It's awful small in relation to the image I had from watching all those shows.  And walking around the whole thing on Friday or Saturday night?  Don't go.....there must have been 100,000 people there on the night I went and it was massive chaos.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Guns and the Heartland

I grew up in a semi-rural county of Alabama (Lauderdale).  It's safe today to say that 92,700 folks (2013 statistics) live there.  We haven't crossed the 100,000 point and probably never will....unless of course this billion-dollar amusement park arrives (a long story for another day).

No one has a firm grip on how many guns exist in the county.....but I'd take an educated guess that if you counted every single gun, in every house, on every farm, or under the seat of every vehicle.....there would be in excess of 250,000 weapons.

I know.....that's a fair number.  

Most guys will note that they've got a shotgun for some purpose but admit they haven't fired a round in at least three years.  Most guys will admit they've got a pistol....which they tote with them to work or shopping now, and they might have a second pistol in the kitchen or bedroom for secondary protection.  I'd take a guess that between five and ten-percent of the women in the county....also have a weapon. If you toss in hunting rifles, and handed down weapons from relatives.....the typical house might have five or six weapons.

Oddly, if you went looking for mass killings or 'problems'......there's probably been one episode in the past five years.

All of those weapons.....hour by hour.....potentially sitting there in a mass of 90,000 people.....and some how life goes on in a relatively safe fashion.

I suspect if you went to Washington DC....where gun control is in firm order.....local folks might be shocked that guns exist there in similar numbers. could cross off the shotguns and hunting rifles.....but there's still a large segment of pistols.  

In the shadow of this whole argument about have to ask a population area of 90,000 many feel safe enough to go without a weapon?  The answer I suspect is probably less than ten-percent of the population.  Journalists may hype up the anti-gun thing but the fact is that nothing really convinces the public to change the system.

The heartland may have some problems.....but giving up on weapons won't be one of them.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The House of Trump

So Trump spoke on the immigration idea that he had.....a bunch of folks have gotten hyped-up.  Among them....there's news out of the isle (the UK) that 200,000 people have signed some digital petition that would require Parliament to ban Donald Trump (as President even) from entering the isle.

As some might worry about this....some other folks have already posted a second petition....requesting that President Trump go forth....conquer England....establish the House of Trump....put down out the Muslims.....and establish himself as the King of England.

My general belief is that it's done in a cynical fashion.  If President Trump did want to take on the remaining empire.....the queen might put up a up reserves....and maybe ask the French for help.

All of this however, is leading a large segment of the journalist trade to hype the situation in hopes of bringing Donald Trump down a notch.  My belief is that he's beyond their touch now and gliding upon public include one-third of the Democratic base at present.

So, what happens with this hyped anti-Trump sentiment after January of 2017?  I would forecast these five events.

1.  I think Trump will be treated negatively by intellectuals and journalists in Europe.  The US public, who voted for Trump, will take it as a negative.  As talk goes onto questioning NATO.....I suspect Trump will say it's outdated and no longer a valid organization.....which culminates within two years with the US packing up and leaving US bases in Europe.  We might still maintain a presence in Italy and Poland.....but the House of Trump will trigger a change.

2.  I think that various right-wing elements will go in the direction of the US.....France to a great degree....and our relationship with them will continue to be positive.  Germany is a question mark.....depending on the fall of 2017 national election.

3.  Public sentiment in the US with the national media will be questioned and people will basically turn off various news media points (CNN, MSNBC, etc).  The ability to show viewership will be a problem for advertisers and all of these news groups will suffer through four years of this before they shift to a neutral opinion of Trump.

4.  Saudi Arabia will find itself somewhat isolated and perhaps threatened by ISIS now.  The US promise of coming to their rescue....that has existed for fifty-odd years.....will evaporate.

5.  Business interests in the US will view the House of Trump-Europe issues as negative and there will likely be some slowdown in business deals and profits.  The American public wants actual change....not that fake change slogan stuff.....but actual real change.  And I suspect their feeling is that the House of Trump will deliver that change (note it's not really clear about this being positive change or negative change).

We are on a roller coaster of sorts, and I think it might be more than a little thrilling.


At some point in a Louisiana Tech University social sciences class....I had a professor bring up "assimilation" for the first time in my life.  It was one of those night classes that you sipped through a fair amount of Mountain Dew and tried to stay focused.  Someone in the class asked for a definition and the professor said it in a simplistic way.....the majority of a society act this way, and you try to copy that behavior to show you are part of that society.

The definition stuck in my mind.

Twenty years ago.....Star Trek introduced the Borg and assimilation went to another level.  The Borg always wanted you to perform at highly efficient levels, without a lot of emotion or Shakespeare-like drama.  In their vision of wasn't a optional thing to were on their team, period.

In recent days after the San Bernardino shooting episode....there's bit a lot of talk about the guy involved and his 'wife'.  After reading through probably forty different news sources.....I've come to the opinion that this guy just never assimilated to the bare minimum survive or flourish in America.

In his mind.....he was somewhere a fantasy-like creation.  There were numerous virgin babes reserved for warriors.....a 7th century conflict in full-bloom....a continual struggle between the forces of good and evil.....and consent given to murder just about anyone for any reason.

Oddly, this guy was able to reach out.....use the internet for the purpose of finding a wife....and found someone who was just as unassimilated as himself.  It was a happy couple belief in this fantasy world and unable to function in reality.

From the twenty-two years I was in the Air Force.....I had various opportunities to come across various characters from different walks of life....who could not assimilate into the military, it's rigid rules, or work in a team-like environment.  Some faked it enough that they'd made it five to ten years in, and then screw up enough to be noted as not part of the big picture.  They were 'let-go'.....for legal wording that the Air Force found acceptable for their discharge.

I worked with a guy who had a young airman in his shop.....whose behavior came to be questioned.  For several months....people came and went....noting that the kid wasn't assimilated and he was behaving like a juvenile with issues (the description of a 12-year-old kid came up on numerous occasions).  One day, the commander had enough and it took less than ten days for the unit to wrap up paperwork and send the kid (over 2.5 years wasted in the Air Force) back home.

I'm all for people having whatever religion makes them happy and upbeat.  My general exception is that you need to take your attitude, religion, and lifestyle into this 'room', and assimilate enough to be around people of varying attitudes, religions, and lifestyles.  If you can't function like need to be elsewhere.  Maybe Mexico.....maybe Saudi Arabia.....maybe some island in the Pacific.  It's not my job to wonder about that second priority is that you just need to leave for a place that fits your ability to assimilate.

So, this brings me to all the problems that one might find in America.  You need to be able to function around atheists, Christians, Mormons, Jews, Mexicans, Chinese, Cubans, gays, LGBTs, Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party enthusiasts, farmers, pot-smokers, NRA folks, radicals, environmentalists, Texans, and crazy New Yorkers.  If you think that assimilating to that degree is impossible.....just open up a map and find some place that fits.  Don't worry about your language, or money situation, or stability.....just find one place that you can assimilate and find yourself accepting of others.

The bottom line is that you need to be part of a class, culture, society, or community where your kind can all fit.  And if you found after a while that things are fairly screwed up in this new place you settled might want to ask yourself.....what made things in this new place so screwed up? was your religion?  If so.....does that say something?

You might want to sit a while and ponder over that.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Trump's Statement

I've sat today and been kinda amazed at the amount of support and fair amount of negativity over Donald Trump's Muslim statement.  In essence, he's said that denial of entry.....for a temporary period to ensure methods and measures on entry actually work.....could be include tourists as well.

That set off a bunch of Muslims, a fair number of journalists, some Europeans, and the big 'boys' of the Republican Party.

Oddly, if you look across the internet.....a lot of regular people, people claiming to be past Democrats and legal minds tend to say that Trump has a point.

I would offer these four observations.  First, for over 1,300 years.....the Muslim religion has had this opportunity to reform and progress to a peaceful religion.  It has not entertained the idea.  There are people who want everyone to know that they are peaceful Muslims.....but then you read over the Quran piece where it's perfectly legit and right to lie to a non-believer.....and you just start to grin with the 'good-Muslim-bad-Muslim' piece of logic.

Second, Trump says it's a temporary idea to review what the rules are and if we are screwing up.  Obviously, the visa application of this gal in California was conducted with a fraud statement and it got by the visa folks.  Why?  We might want to answer that before allowing anyone else to enter.

Third, there are dozens of other fine countries where you can go if you practice Islam and really need to visit some other country.  I'd suggest Mexico.

Fourth, if I were depending on leadership from various members of the House and Senate Republicans.....I'm still be waiting on leadership ideas.  What I see and political chit-chat.  Maybe they need to just stay busy with politics and leave leadership to executives.

I'm really not much of a Trump believer.....but I'm getting the sense of some idiots wanting to lay blame on someone who seems to be the only idea-guy in the room.  It just seems odd.  Probably the cynical side of myself.....I'd rather find someone more worthy than a professor for the job of President.

"Pussy" or "Pu**y"?

After President Obama gave the Sunday night national speech....a number of folks sat down and analyzed it. From Fox News.....they came to Lt Col of their weekly folks who talks up terrorism and military affairs, and they asked him his opinion of the President and the speech....and he responded with the term "pussy".

In the military, if a guy refers to the term "pussy" generally means something different than what regular people or your standard college definition. It means a guy who can't really do anything or say anything.....because he's too fearful of upsetting folks.

Some intellectual folks will hear the term "pussy" and immediately go the college definition and think of a trailer-trash-chemistry major gal that they knew in Ohio State or Texas Tech.....who flaunted sexuality and was fairly promiscuous (for Alabama means her trailer door is always unlocked and usually open).

Fox News couldn't really let Lt Col Peters get away with that silly they banned him for two weeks. Whatever paycheck he was getting....I'm guessing a thousand dollars a week minimum.....well....that's cut off until he's wrapped up his two weeks of suspension.

Now, this does bring me to pondering.

First, most folks will say that "pussy" is a four-letter word and thus must be referred to as "pu**y. It's a delicate English matter. I had a sixth-grade English teacher who noted any word in the dictionary....could be used without worrying about upsetting the sensitivities of people.

Second, when the Fox HR guy called up Peters.....did he say that Peters was on Pussy-suspension or Pussy-timeout? Or did he just say it was inappropriate? Peters probably asked him for the list of words then that you can't use to describe the President, and the HR guy froze at that point......there was no such list.

Third, how will the MSNBC hosts.....who always hate Fox News....discuss this?  Every time the word is gets more mileage.  Some kid at Texas Tech has probably invented a drinking game where you do a shot of fruity liquor when the word is uttered with MSNBC.

Fourth, the real comedy to this whole thing is that more people are entertained or perceptive of Lt Col Peters "pussy" comment than the President's address itself.  I sat and watched the 12-minute piece.  To be honest.....there's not much you'd get out of watching it other than thinking that the President is concerned, and that this Knoxville attack which the FBI just labeled last week as non-radical Muslim.....was actually radical-Muslim.

Presently, I expect some college professor to pull this pussy-comment out and try to explain this in a political science class.  At some point.....some trailer-trash-gal will stand and get all disturbed about the misuse of the word and accuse the professor of sexism.  Eventually, someone will start a new trend #pussymatters and then we get a whole new college frustration episode with loser kids who pay $90,000 for a fake college degree and can't be serious about anything unless there's a hash-tag in front of the phrase.

Sorry if I'm cynical and sarcastic.  I'm just not "Pu**y" enough to be fake.

Monday, 7 December 2015

The 72

This morning....there's this odd piece of news that came out over the weekend from Boston Public Radio.  They were interviewing Rep Stephen Lynch (D) of their local guys, and he said.....well, basically, the Homeland Security guys were forced into an audit of all their people and found that 72 of them were actually on the President's terrorist watch list.

This all occurred in August and nothing much was said at the time.....other than the Homeland Security chief resigned.

I sat and pondered upon this.

To go and work at Homeland matter what part of have to do a Secret security clearance.  They go and open up folders and ensure things are OK.  They had to see that these guys were on some terrorist watch least at the review level, and this had to be known to the HR folks handling the hiring of these people.

Yet, they were hired anyway.

Once you have a Secret clearance, you get access to classified areas, and classified message traffic up to the level of Secret.  This after day.....they were able to see what was going on and ask questions.

If it'd been just three or four might not say much.  But 72?  This would mean over and over....whenever they were noted in the hiring process....someone overruled logic and hired them anyway.  What fool would do that?  Over and over?

After you hear this.....then you start to ask, did the White House hire people like this?  Are there a dozen people on the White House staff who are on some terrorist watch list?  Did the Secret Service folks hire people on the terrorist watch list?

But the reality is this.....wouldn't you prefer these potential crazy terrorist people work for Homeland Security.....instead of your local Piggly Wiggly or McDonalds?

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Anti-Mistletoe University

I'm one of those guys who read through a bunch of articles....from dozens of newspapers....and eventually sits back to ponder upon one single item which seems to demand a lot of thought process.  You could say that I'm engrossed in the subject, or maybe I'm reflecting upon reality.

Today, there was this item where Cornell University......a mighty fine private university in upstate New York.  There's around 21,000 students who attend this fine private college, and their chief claim to that is "Cornell" name which appears on the diploma.  Tuition roughly $47,000 a year, and if you live and dine on can figure another $14,000.  With beer and pocket can figure each year at Cornell will cost Dad at least $75,000 a year.

In the real world.....Dad would have some fairly significant demands for $75,000 a year for four years.  This can't be a fake degree mill, or some kind of radical campus with riots, or some campus with trailer-trash gals running amok and harming Junior's innocence.

Cornell management came out in the past week or so and had this list of things that students ought to be aware of while in the festive Christmas season.  Yeah.....guidelines......that's what we'd say in Alabama.

So, they talked up the problems with fire hazards.  You do stupid things like attaching candles to trees, and they catch on fire.

They talked up the dangers of metallic Christmas trees and electricity.  In Bama, we'd do some stupid things and might accidentally run 110-voltage through a accident of course.

They talked about alcohol and how folks might consume more than a fair amount of booze.....which does happen in the college environment.

So, they wrap up half of this guideline stuff, and then there's this piece about how to be inclusive.

It's a puzzling word.  In Alabama, it'd typically mean that you associate with Republicans people while you politically disagree with them.  Or it might mean you associate with Church of Christ folks while you know they are in serious jeopardy.  Or it might mean you do associate with your in-laws which you can't stand them.

In this case, it means that some folks at Cornell are not Christians and they might get all frustrated and angry about you being in a Christmas-like spirit.  The fact that America has taken this route over two-hundred years and gone this Christian way? got 'visitors' around and you just got to be careful.

The college lists these items.....Menorahs, nativity scenes, crosses, Stars of David, Angels, and Mistletoe......which you ought not display when these guests are around.  They avoided mentioning the Christmas Tree....because....well....there's no Christmas for most folks without the tree.  The carols?  Well, they left that out too.

I looked at the list.  Mistletoe? It doesn't make much sense.  Course, if you pulled the stuff out on some radicalized gal.....she might get all disturbed if you swung the stuff in her direction.  Yeah, it might be awful dangerous stuff.

So I sat there and tried to ponder how you'd run some kind of Christmas theme with Muslims around.  And the answer can't.   Nor can you sit and understand Ramadan when your employee says he's completely dehydrated by noon and can't work to any real degree, and you suggest sipping some water, and he just can't do it.

Cornell is for special people who want the degree badly and think it'll pave the way for Johnny Junior or Wanda to get into $100k a year employment.  It'll get them to the New Jersey state senate in twenty years, and maybe even get them an ambassador's job somewhere down the line.

Personally, once you start handing out these oddball'd make you ask stupid questions.  Maybe there's a better place without all these special rules or suggestions.

The Thing about Pendulums

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr spoke up Friday and said that he was urging students there to carry concealed weapons with them on the counter any conceivable attack.

Some folks were supportive.....some folks were hostile about this.  From the campus itself....just about everyone supported the idea.

There was a time in the country when people carried weapons on themselves.....twenty-four hours a days a week.  The pilgrims brought swords and blunderbuss.

When you get into the 1700s and the various Indian Wars that were going on....most everyone in the 'frontier' had weapons on themselves or within fifty feet throughout their entire lives. Every kid was taught on the use of a weapon by the time that they had physical abilities to handle such a weapon.

It is not until you get to the early 1800s....when the majority of Americans in the civilized areas of the nation could finally put the weapons within the house and only required it on certain occasions.  You can find various communities in the US where guns were strictly for hunting purposes only and the need for defense simply evaporated.

When you talk of civilization and the need for a weapon in the region west of the Mississippi before the was absolutely mandatory that you had a weapon on you, your horse, or in the wagon. Go read upon any trail experience in the way west.....and everyone will note ammo and weapons among the items carried.

The potential for a threat in Alabama (my home state) didn't really lessen until the Creek Indian War ended in 1814.  For an entire generation around this time period....people still carried weapons in some fear but the significant usage of weapons centered on hunting from that point on.

It is not until you get to roughly the 1880s time period that a vast majority of Americans feel safe enough to travel and pursue personal interests without toting a weapon of some type on themselves.

We can say that from various stages and events....since the early 1900s....Americans have had reasons on their mind to have a gun within their vehicle or on themselves.  We can even cite the San Ysidro McDonalds shooting in 1984 where twenty-one people were killed as a turning point where the public asked themselves if the need existed to carry a weapon on a daily basis.

The statistical folks will tell you that 300 million guns exist in the US today.  It's not a reliable number and it represents more of a guess than anything else.

What the Liberty University President is suggesting is a mentality that people will get used to lugging some pistol on themselves in a daily way.  When you get up and go to work.....there will be a Ruger 38 on you....or perhaps a Sig P238.  When you go shopping at Piggly Wiggly....somewhere in the jacket will be a Walther P22 "Q" model pistol.  When your daughter leaves for evening classes at the local college.....she will have a Colt 1911 in her purse.

As time would will occur where some guy walked into a grocery robbery and shot some drugged-up punk kid who was robbing the place and threatening to kill folks.  The guy will shoot the punk dead and potential deaths down the road from the punk won't exist.  Next week.....another guy from your neighborhood will shoot down some thug who was going to kill his wife at work....preventing another needlessness death.

Eventually, we will start a new statistical chart called 'dead thugs stopped'.   People will be disturbed by the chart trend and suggest that regular people are killing too many thugs.  It's just not right.  Thugs deserve a chance in life.   Some President will even be stupid enough to say this in public and think it'll gain him votes from the pro-thug lobby.

Some guy will ultimately rise to be mayor of Chicago.....who finally suggests to everyone....get a gun and go armed.  Yeah, over one brief summer....several hundred punks will be shot on the street in a massive public reaction to violence.  Then, oddly.....suddenly people start acting civil in public and Chicago starts to go an entire month without a killing.

The pendulum has two ends to where people have absolute trust and one where you have absolute distrust.  It's swinging toward absolute distrust presently and there's not much you can do politically or with laws to prevent that swing.  Eventually.....after forcing respect upon people with a harsh method.....the pendulum will start to go back the other direction.  We are still years away from that point though.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Thing About Gun Control

In the fabricated world of gun control.....there's a means and end to gun violence.  I've heard probably a thousand hours of debate over the past forty-odd years and read tens of thousands of lines over the topic.

If this were a serious debate, the topic would revolve only around rewriting the Constitution and explaining exactly what a militia is and how guns would or would not be related to that phrase or part of the Constitution.  This however, is avoided, at all costs.

Why?  Well, what people generally say about the Constitution and this change game is that they kinda remember how it went with Prohibition and the use of change with the Constitution.....thinking you could end booze in America.  In the end, instead of terminating simply went to a level where there was no control period, no taxation, and was a key part of the American 'underground'.  So rather than defining a militia or it's powers or use of's mostly all talk.....over and over, with various gimmicks which won't touch upon the Constitution.

If you sit and read newspapers across the I do each tend to observe three key parts of our society and the need for weapons.

First, vicious crime.....the type where a guy or gang breaks into a house while the owner is there or his more than obvious.  You notice these incidents day by rural areas and urban zones of the US.  Maybe the Washington Post or NY Times never mention it, but small-town newspapers and local network news around the country do talk about it.    Waiting for the cops to come when the guy has already broken down the door....isn't an option.

Second, crime performed by whacked-out or drugged-up losers is more than obvious.  These are people who clearly show no fear of their act or the possible detention of twenty years within a prison.  Nor does the death sentence threat scare them.  Other than putting a piece of lead into them....there's not much of an option left.

Third, you end up watching some perverted political figure try to charm his people by talking up CONTROL as being something that is managed by law and can be restrained and curbed by laws.  The fact that there are various laws which prevent murder, rape, assault, robbery and physical threats....and you'd just add another layer of law upon another layer of law upon another layer of law.

In the end, the law means nothing.

A German safely walks around the streets of his town or city without worrying much over doped-up thugs or out-of-control robberies.  Because of this limited threat....he's not that charged up to have a weapon.  If you changed the statistics around.....doubling or tripling the potential violence in a normal quiet German'd watch the public pursue more gun licenses and acquire weapons.  There's simply a point of reality that kicks into the gut of much trust you can you allow some political agenda over the safety of your life.

It's hype....mostly to cover an agenda and simply provoke some element of society to react.  If we talked about people getting killed in drunken boat accidents enough....they'd be hyped to hire up more cops to patrol stop the accidents and killing there.  Yes, if we only had more'd all work out in the end, or at least we perceive that.

If anyone believes the hype of gun control....go take a ride to Memphis and go walk for an hour through the heart of the city after dark.  Talk to us about your fears and anxiety then....and how gun control would fix your fears and anxiety.

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Malik Story

When you look at the San Bernardino shooting episode....there's one strange piece to it.....the wife-shooter....Tashfeen Malik.

I sat and read over several writings of the 'new' wife of this guy involved.  She was a Saudi, or at least had a Saudi passport.

The shooter's parents about a year or two ago.....had this worry that the son would never marry, or at least he wouldn't marry the 'right' kind of girl.  So they hunted around to find one and got to this match-maker service (NOT in the US).  This all led to Tashfeen.

Well....other than pictures and some descriptions of her via the son's one much knows her or her background.  There's the claim of her being in the pharmacy field and had some education as such.  But beyond that?  No....nothing.

So I have this scenario flowing through my mind.  In this.....the President will have a meeting in two weeks with the FBI guy and the CIA guy.  It'll be a thirty-minute meeting and cover what happened in San Bernardino.  The FBI guy will lead through facts with the guy, and then turn to the wife.

"There's this weird thing....." that the FBI guy will start this story with.  As the FBI tried to connect to the Saudis and find out who she was and her history was.....the Saudis weren't willing to help.  The FBI guy will turn to the CIA guy....letting him tell the rest of the story.

The CIA guy will do a half-way grin and say that his boys were digging in Saudi Arabia and this gal just doesn't exist.  Tashfeen Malik realates in some way to a nom de guerre for a Muslim Jihadist from Muslim history.  This was the Tafhseen King of the Unitarians (Muslims) and the conqueror of the world outside of Saudi Arabia.

The President will stop them at that point.....asking what the heck all of this means?

Well, says the CIA guy.....she's fake.  You know....not what you think.  It's just like when you sign up for a marriage match-maker in Texas and you get this wife deal.....then you find out that she's some trailer-trash gal from New Jersey who shot her last husband and did time in prison.

The President will be confused.

Both the CIA and FBI guys will say they are concerned.  The President asks why?

Well....they say.....they think there's at least a hundred such matchmaker deals which they can trace and these Saudi wives were brought into the US.  They might all be fake.....sleeper agents.

The President assures them.....Saudis never lie.....neither do Muslims....and it's best to forget all this stuff.

It's hard to say where this goes, but I have this odd feeling that the wife will be quickly forgotten by the news media.....because they just can't track down her history.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Ninth Degree of Crazy

I have sat and read a dozen-odd reports over this Robert Dear guy out of Colorado who was in a mass-shooting episode.  I tend to skip the act itself and just ask three or four stupid questions over what they've been doing the past decade.....what drugs do they commonly use....and just how crazy did ex-wives, ex-GF's, or relatives consider the guy.  Note, it's almost always a crazy guy doing the shooting.....oddly, we don't have women ever noted much for crazy shooting.

So, the ex-wife of Dear says the guy was sitting there twenty years ago as a art dealer.

I sat and pondered over this.  Being from Bama.....I must be kinda honest....I've never met an art dealer in my life.  I've met taxidermists, hog farmers, veterinarians, tractor salesmen, buy-me-a-drink gals, Army women who could kick my ass, pretender-Republicans, postal folks, technology geeks, rocket scientists, engineers, professors, pilots, professional cooks, bartenders (a fair number of them), mechanics, mathematicians, losers with a PhD, weathermen, Civil War enthusiasts, cowboys, Buddhists, Catholics, LDS folks, truckers, gas station clerks, Piggly Wiggly clerks, one US ambassador, 'lost' reverends, 'found' reverends, journalists, pretender-journalists, pro-baseball players, and even a couple of banjo-pickers.  But I must admit.....I just haven't met any art dealers.

I won't stand here and say it's a loser profession....although the thought does race through my mind.  You basically have to be the middle guy.....where some poor gal spent six weeks working on some portrait of a pink horse standing next to a green Indian and a purple Cowboy....and try to convince some idiot that the portrait is worth $4,000....of which your cut will be as the middle-guy half of that money.  So you shell out booze and hope that some crazed guy with lots of money and a poor taste for art.....will actually be that stupid and crazy to buy the 'pink horse' portrait.

The ex-wive says that Robert's woes started up before 1997, and he was going through some type of crisis or attitude change.  He'd just haul off and assault her.  She didn't say nothing much about drug usage....but most guys don't typically slug, assault, or perform an injury on a wife....unless they are fairly drunken or drugged-up.  The ex-wife finally said enough around 2002, and they described the guy as mostly a guy without any crazy tendencies.....well.....other than aggressive violence against her.

Other folks talked up the last couple years of Robert's life in Colorado....noting he lived mostly in some cabin in Colorado....seemed a bit detached from reality.....appearing like some guy who was on some zombie-like daze.

For years, I've been waiting for some guy to sit down and write the end-all-tell-all book on the nine degrees of crazy.  Being from Bama, I have a special appreciation of crazy.  Most folks from Bama will admit that roughly a quarter of population are just a bit on the crazy side.....some more....some less....some on the far-far-far side of crazy.  Course, when the crazy reaches a level of safety being threatened.....we are about the same as everyone's time to put the guy in some facility and lock the door.

My humble guess is that Robert was one of those guys who got a fair bit of profits at some stage....took to smoking marijuana several times a day to lessen the stress upon him, and just got to some point where he's in a dazed state of mind for roughly twenty hours a day.

The sad thing is that in the daily travels that each of us have now.....we likely come across four or five such characters, and it's only 'luck' that helps us make it through the day....alive.  All these guys or gals....on the ninth degree of crazy and hyped on some really good marijuana....and we as potential victims somehow survive.  Pretty good odds....don't you think?

Living in a Bold New Fraudulent World

I came to this conclusion over the weekend, after a fair amount of pondering.  We are living in a wonderful and bold new era....full of fraud, deceit and misrepresentation.

You sit and listen to some political figure talk for forty minutes and you just start grinning because there's at least ten different fraudulent statements that they made.  You kinda just accept that and hug the guy or gal anyway.

You sit and watch some no-name talent Kadashian swagger around on some show for thirty minutes and come away mesmerized that nothing really occurred but you felt entertained.

You sat through an interview with some Today Show idiot who talks to poor Charlie Sheen and his HIV stuff, and never once does the interview ask if Charlie had unprotected sex with some guy while on some drug binge.  It's a fake but decent fraudulent interview....which you accept because it's just there as entertainment and nothing else.

The CIA wages a fake intelligence blitz campaign across the globe and you feel fairly confident over their fraudulent efforts.  It'll all come to a successful fraud ending, and someone will get a pat on the back for their fraudulent efforts.

You sit and watch the President appear on dozens of comedy shows....saying humorous and stupid things, and eventually accept all of that as normal.  So when he does appear at some podium and say other humorous and stupid things in a naturally serious way....well, it's just part of the fraud and you accept it as normal.

Over the past decade, you got used to watching guys pretending to be Republicans or Democrats, and you just grin now when they screw up enough to show they aren't really a member of this party or that party.....but just some component of a lobbyist group that shall remain unnamed.

You got used to Global Warming, Global Cooling, and Climate such a degree....that the fraud stuff doesn't really bother you anymore.  You just grin a bit and act spellbound....but it's mostly just good fraudulent science stuff.  They could talk up some terrible woes coming ten years in the future....but, it just won't be accepted beyond a certain degree of fraud talk.

You got used to fraudulent bankers to such a degree....that even when they've almost bankrupted the just accept as a fraudulent bankruptcy....not a real bankruptcy.

You got used to fraudulent universities to such a degree....that it doesn't bother you when Wanda or Micky Junior asks you for $100,000 for four just hand the money over and accept the fact that it's just buying a piece of paper....not a real education.  It's a good fraud, and will help the poor kid in four years get a good decent fraudulent job with a company who is stupid enough to pay $40,000 a year to some kid who is lacking in analytical skills and common sense.....but they were at a real NCAA football campus.

You've gotten use to fraudulent religious clerics with a spicy TV character-like appearance and witty charm.  It's bad enough that if they ask you to buy time-shares with some fraudulent Christian condo-association to be around other fraudulent probably will shell out the cash to get this golden but fraudulent opportunity.

You sit around in the evening to watch Amish Mafia....knowing full well that it's just a fraudulent pretender-documentary with entertainment value.  Being a fraud is no big deal....even a fraudulent Amish guy.

It's reached the level that when you do discuss baseball and don't even bring up Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa anymore.  The steroid period has consumed your passion and intensity for the sport.  Fraudulent homeruns are listed in the records and you just grin when the topic comes up now.

Over the past decade, between President Bush and President Obama....we've been conditioned by the news media with various fraudulent messages.  We've gone now to the stage where nothing that Hillary, Trump or Carson says of a crazy fashion matters.

When some idiot from the news media comes up and asks Doc Carson about Egyptian Pyramids....well, it just doesn't matter what he says.....we just accept it as a fraudulent answer and that's the end of that chaotic moment.

When some idiot from the news media comes up and asks Hillary about the 1,000 classified emails in her personal unclassified server?'s just another fraudulent element of a heavily tasked executive with some burned-out brain cells.  No big deal.....just another fraud that we need to accept.
When some idiot from the news media throws Trump around and makes him do a brief stumble.....well, it just don't matter because we see the news media as a fraudulent element, and Trump is this poor victim guy.  Trump could admit he was there on the grassy knoll and shoot wouldn't matter.....we'd just say that the whole Kennedy shooting was a fraud and just accept it.

Yeah, it's like we've taken professional wrestling serious and willing to believe that the Undertaker will never be taken down. Or it's like some insane amount of trust that we've put on the shoulders of Jerry Springer to deliver a daily fraudulent show that looks pretty real with trailer trash women, transexual guys married to fake farmers, and guys who admit they had some relationship with sixteen women from their local church.

It is a bold new and fraudulent world that we live in, and frankly.....some folks might be shocked that we now just take it in stride and will be willing to overlook any crazy Trump comment, or fake trailer trash gal who appears on Jerry Springer's show.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The German Hot-Dog Warmer

I get in Saturday's mail....these various sales leaflets.....for the upcoming Christmas season.

In an electronics brochure.....there's this wurstchen (a German hot-dog) cooker.

Now, I looked at this for several minutes.  It basically takes two German style hot-dogs.....grills them in some fashion for roughly five minutes (at a limited heat) and then pops them up like a toaster.

Price?  399.95 Euro (480 dollars roughly).

Yeah, it's got a clock and a timer.....and it comes in a fancy wood crate (appeals to the rough and ready guy).

The thing is.....would you pay $480 for a hot-dog warmer? I Wal-Mart or Piggly could probably get a plain regular one without any clock to it....for maybe $29.

Now, I is German-made.  It's high-quality.  It probably would still be around with weekly usage.....even twenty years from now.  But would you pay $480 for it?

I brought this up to my wife as a potential Christmas gift.  It didn't go well.  She mentioned that she's got a high cost German stove, with a high-cost German pot, which I can fill with German cook up my German-style hot-dogs (wurstchen).  Why should I waste 399.95 Euro on this?

I would be curious to know how many guys will buy this and if the company only made twelve of these for sales across Germany.

The sad thing....if you ponder upon this long that there was some engineer who had the job of designing and testing this.  A graduate of some fancy engineering school.....with some fancy designation upon the end of his name.  He probably wasted nine-hundred man-hours designing this and it's a quarter of his entire resume.  You might be standing there one day and have this guy in front of you.....then you (HR) realize....he's the crazy guy who made the German $480 hot-dog warmer.  The question is....would you hire this guy?

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Drone Pilot Story

There was an interesting piece in the LA Times today.....covering the Air Force, contractors, and the requirement for more drone pilots.

So, the Air Force has come to agree that they have a problem in getting and maintaining enough qualified drone pilots.

You might ask why.  

Around twenty years ago when this drone thing was first being discussed, it was decided that these were all high-value items and thus you needed an officer to fly them.  One might admit that if city street-sweepers had a cost-value of $2 million, and the Air Force bought a dozen of them.....they'd have Captains piloting the city street-sweeper.

Then they said that you had to be a graduate of flight school and thus a 'real' pilot to fly the drone.  So if you were in the school and you came to the point where they handed out airframes and fell into three groups.  The first being the happy group with fighters.  The second group were the cargo or recon plane jobs, which were somewhat happy individiuals.  The third group was the drone group, where no one was very happy.

Being a drone pilot meant you were going to Vegas for three years.  It meant that you'd be sitting in a cubicle and monitoring a flight that might take fifteen-plus hours, then you'd walk out and try to assemble a somewhat normal life in the Vegas culture.  I should note....on top of the drone duty, the AF always tried to find other duties to ensure your administrative side of life was hectic and full of papers to be written.

The only positive thing was that at the end of a drone got this really juicy assignment somewhere for three years.....possibly even a career-enhancement job which guaranteed early promotion.  Then, they might come to you after the juicy period, and offer a drone deal again.....since you had the certifications, and offer you a chance to drone for three years, and then get that heavily desired DC job which would guarantee you another promotion.

For a decade, drone-burn-out has been discussed in open forums and people readily agree that it's a problem now to recruit and keep Air Force pilots under this issue.

So, contracting companies stood up and said.....if you pay us X, we will provide a drone pilot force.

What they look for are simply people with a pilot background that meet the contract specifications.  No one cares if the guy is 30 pounds overweight.  No one cares if the pilot is a guy who wears Scottish Kilts or a ladies high heels.  No one cares if the contracted drone pilot is HIV-positive.  No one cares if the drone pilot is a trans-lady-guy.  That's the thing about contracting out this just want someone to show up at 3AM, get into a lounge seat for sixteen hours, and fly a mission from some air conditioned room on the base north of Vegas.  Administrative duties for the contracted pilots?  No....none.

Naturally, this drew negativity....hiring out.

The Air Force said.....fine.....they'd hire for the Reaper drones....which are recon only.....not capable of firing missiles.  The contractors wouldn't pinpoint targets (lasering) or push the button for the missile.

All of this got military lawyers upset to some degree.....they still say that the contractors are part of a "kill chain" and you just can't use civilians for that purpose.  There's that law which says you as a civilian cannot be part of an armed conflict.

It's ok to cook chow food in a war zone, or repair trucks, or erect tents.  Once you cross the line into the killing's 'bad'.

Part of this problem of a drone pilot the Air Force's own fault.  If the Army ran the'd be a warrant-officer program where guys with a year of college would be professional drone-pilots.  They wouldn't be dragged around with deals being laid on the table.....year after year....and they'd probably own permanent homes in Vegas, with a three-year tour every couple of years to Italy or Germany to chill out.  The Army would figure out some way to only fly four or five missions a month, and most folks would be happy with the deal.  The Air Force got rid of warrant-officers back in the late 1950s.....saying they just were a hindrance.

There are probably 300,000 kids in America who are 'game-happy' and computer geeks.  If you went up to a eighteen-year-old kid and just's this deal.  You go through a simulator pilot school for two months....we certify you......then you drone with us for five years while we pay for two classes each semester and pay you $40,000 a year to live in Vegas....then you'd get several thousand volunteers each year.  You end the five-year deal with a degree and walk out out the door happy.  The Air Force could make some deal like this but then they'd have to admit that any idiot could fly the drone with a little bit of training, and they'd hate to admit that in public.

So, settle back and watch how this unfolds.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Seat Innovation

Innovation is running absolute overdrive presently.

I noticed in auto news today that there's new seat technology developed....called 'Active Wellness'.  What it generally does is monitor you the "sitter" in terms of your physical way and your mental status.

Now, you'd likely pause here and ask some questions.

The seat is checking your heart rate, your respiration rate and analyzing those to compare against your expected stress level.  Based on your standards (I'm assuming there is some input that you have to make into the system about your body, etc)'ll come back with a massage function or heat/cool function and lessen your stress.

The big draw?  If you look sleepy on'll do something to wake you up.  All of this.....without really touching your skin.....attaching electrodes.....or putting some kind of copper wearing on your head.

My brother would look at this and probably ask if there is an electrical volt charge somewhere involved.....if you did nod off......and wanting to personally measure the charge himself (but avoid being the sittee).  It'd be one of those lab-like experiments like you do at Auburn when the professor is not around to ensure safety compliance.

All of this comes from rocket scientists (actual NASA engineers) withing with Ohio State University and some PhD type folks at Stanford University.

The thing is.....once they perfect this gadget.....why limit it to just car seats?  Why not install it in some upscale office chairs as well.....or your riding lawn-mower seat.....or even your tractor seat.

You get all frustrated with the boss?  The seat registers this and suddenly turns on some Beach Boy tunes.....hits a fan in the corner.....then flashes some trailer trash gal's pictures across the get your mind off the frustration.

You get frustrated with the wife at home while operating the tractor?  It'll flip on 'Ring of Fire' by Johnny Cash and flash some video across the screen on the tractor TV of Green Acres and you start grinning.

There will be hardcore guys standing there....saying it's their right to be natural and not be affected by some fancy gadgets like this.  They probably refer to themselves as the Mennonite-2015 version who refuse to advance past this point.

I'll bet somewhere in the mix of innovation....there's some guy standing there and wiring up the measurements device to detect when you pass gas and recommend some type of action.....or if your NCAA team lost over the weekend and try to comfort you in some way as you drive to work on a Monday.

It is a bold new world that is coming.

Monday, 23 November 2015

NPR in 2015

The Washington Post wrote up an article over the weekend.....concerning National Public Radio (NPR).  The jest of this is that listeners are 'dying-out'.  Over the past decade NPR has come to realize that it's losing listeners.....mostly because older and enthusiastic listeners are not being replaced by younger and enthusiastic listeners.   There is some fear that they will cross some mythical line and find Congressional funding to be lessen at some point down the road (at least a decade away).

Around 1971, I was one of those who eagerly found the NPR station in my region of rural Alabama, tuning into a station that carried jazz, opera, and classical music.  They carried readings from Hemingway and Steinbeck, and had intellectual conversations once in a while.  For a kid from rural surroundings, it was a worthy vehicle.

At some point in the 1980s.....they trimmed back on jazz, opera, and classical music......flipping to more news and political commentary.  By the mid-1990s.....they went turbo on political stuff and news.....with almost no jazz, opera or classical music anymore.  A handful of entertainment shows sat around and made the format worthwhile.

Around twelve years ago, I reached a point where I was generally laughing over the political news and couldn't really take them as a serious journalist forum.

For a 18-year-old today?  It's hard to figure what a younger individual would get out of NPR.  They avoid entertainment news like it's the plague.  They rarely cover sports other than some 1,000 word essay over the Brooklyn Dodgers or the old Yankees of the 1950s.  Anything related to the modern culture of some kid?  Forget it.

At some point, you just come to sense that NPR will have to go and re-invent itself.....going back to the old format of the 1970s and 1980s.....which will confuse half the crowd of listeners that they have today.

Sadly, you can only generate roughly twelve minutes a day of real political news before you reach a point where there's nothing worth discussing.  The term.....'overkill' starts to make your journalistic talents marginal and amusing.  It's the same problem that CNN suffers from today.....there's just not enough news to fill an hour and keep viewers you start talking about two-headed cows or page six of some farm legislative bill that concerns Texas cotton farmers.

Maybe NPR will figure a way to survive, but I suspect they've got about five years at best before someone starts talking budget cuts and how they fit into some future operations situation.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Being Fake Southern

I noticed in the news this morning that someone was there in Memphis to attend the rally for Hillary, and noticed her fake-but-realistic southern accent.

Forty years ago....having a southern accent was a negative thing and people tended to lose it as they migrated out of the south.  These are people who learned a neutral accent.

Developing a fake accent?  It's hard to do this in some accurate fashion.  I've seen Bill Clinton at work and Bill simply shifts back and forth.  He never really lost his accent....he just coupled his southern accent with some neutral words, and continued on.  As much as you consider Bill a national guy.....he's a southerner when it comes to speech.

One of the worst southern accents I've heard over the past two decades is President Obama.  When he's shifted over and tries to deliver some speech....using the fake southern accent.....he comes off looking foolish.  I tend to think the same thing with Hillary because she'll get two or three sentences into some speech.....then revert back to neutral talk for a sentence or two, then revert back to southern chat.

Years ago, I came back to Alabama for a visit and was going to buy some updated clothing (something that I rarely do) and went to a men's shop near the town where I grew up.  I was about half-way through this sizing and selection process when this fifty-year-old gal came up to offer help.  The accent was about 200-percent of the typical average southern accent that I was used to.  I actually had to stand there for about ten seconds....trying to analyze the words and translate these in my mind.

After that experience, I came to realize there are probably a dozen different southern levels.  I brought this up one day with someone in the office who grew up in the region around Savannah, Georgia.  They had gone 'neutral' years ago but could readily shift back to Savannah-twang.  With thirty seconds of Savannah dialog....I had to admit that I barely understood half of what he said.

In the case of Hillary's speech....she's trying to infer to the crowd that she's one of them.  The fakeness of the deal?  Well.....most people would sit there and just shake their head.  If they wanted one of the "them" as President.....they would have run one of their own people with the real accent for the office of President.

How desperate are we to hear the fake southern accent and get all hyped up over the accent?  That's the thing.  If you sat and asked a hundred southerners about this.....they generally have this image in their mind of some 'carpetbagger' (that's an 1800's term for a fraudulent political figure whose come to town to tell them their woes and how only they can fix the problems at hand).  

Any chance that Trump will use a fake southern accent?  No.  That's something you can bet on.

I'm not really against the Hillary southern accent presentation.....if she thinks it'll help her, then fine.  But I suspect that people will just walk out of the arena after hearing the speech and keep, it just wasn't that good of a fake accent.

I'm waiting for the help-desk guru's to dream up their newest gimmick for Indian-help desk technicians when you call them up.....using a southern accent and dialog.....trying to make Americans feel charmed and ultra-comfortable with the repair or technical support.

Bottom line?  We are a crazy society where fraudulent accents seem to matter.  And being fake-southern seems to matter in this little world.

Chancellor Talk

For some reason, the University of Missouri continues to be in the news.  You'd think by now that they'd burned up most national interest.....but apparently there is still more trouble.

Late Friday.....the university governing body met and had this discussion.  It was over the way that they will handle the decision process of who will become the next chancellor, and the president at the other campus in Columbia.  If you remember the details....both gentlemen handed in their resignations.

This Board met and allowed student input.  So students came forward and said they want input into the decision process.....something that no university in the US has ever allowed.  They weren't finished.....they also wanted improvements on non-white students, and better treatment of graduate students (higher stipends, more affordable housing, paternity and maternity leave, and adequate health care).

The Board?  It's made up of eight members.....two women, six men.  All appointed by the governor.  I looked over their 'resumes' via the university site.  These are all highly educated people.....people with professions, and a long list of accomplishments.

It's hard to imagine that you'd turn a Chancellor-recruitment episode into a very open process where it's more than eight people deciding upon the next guy.  The last thing on Earth you'd allow thirty-odd thousand college students to be part of the process.  In a matter of weeks, you could turn the university into some large forum of frustrated people who think they "own" the university.

The curious thing that might step up that the state assembly or legislature wants to be part of the recruitment episode......then the general public of Missouri.

Generally, when you recruit some want some individual who has had past experience and demonstrated himself or herself as competent.

Why limit this process to only the Chancellor?  Why not open the door for the football coach, the basketball coach, be student-participation as well?  Why not open the door and allow the students to pick professors to be fired or hired?

There's a reason why you want some sixty-year-old people to be on a board and to be responsible for the actions required.  If you turn this process into a circus.....parents will recognize that, and voice concern that their kids are going to a marginal two-star university.  By summer of next year, the new freshman group on the list to attend in the fall might be only seventy-percent of what is expected.  A lot of students don't realize the negativity that can be attached to a university has consequences.

There's been talk since the day that the Chancellor resigned....that the students had this idea over their "insider" (Micheal Middleton), who is now acting as the temporary Chancellor until the board determines the full replacement.  There is a suggestion that the students just want the Board to rubber-stamp Middleton as the permanent guy and avoid any review of outside possibilities.  The issue will be pay structure, and Middleton might come up to ask for a twenty-five percent pay increase over what they paid the last guy, and that won't work......unless of course, the students jerk people around to demand it.

For some reason, I just don't have much faith that this University of Missouri episode will come to a successful conclusion.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Little Pill

It's one of those odd stories that came up today....from the Washington Post.

So, there is this drug which has been noticed in the Syrian civil war.  Capagon.

It's a major amphetamine drug.  Normally, you'd buy it (illegally) for a price of $5 to $20, each.  It was developed by the Germans in the early 1960s.  I won't say it's connected back to the Nazis but there's probably a discovery related before the war ended.

The drug got introduced into the Syrian conflict.  But there's this odd history behind the drug....back five or six years ago, the consumer side of the drug had several layers but roughly one-third of the world production of this amphetamine would go to Saudi Arabia.  Seven tons, say the Post.

It's gotten to such a bad situation that almost 50,000 Saudi guys end up in some drug rehab in an average year.

So I looked at the side effect or usage deal.  Basically, you end up thinking you've got super-strength, lots of stamina and go for hours and hours charged up.  Then, you start a downward trend.

The doctors who handle this stuff admit it's pretty dangerous on the side effects.....brain damage and psychosis.  Guys tend to use the pill....burn up energy...miss eating....start losing weight.....go back to the pill.....and in some weird end up with some thin-slim guy all juiced up and on a fake-energy high.

No one says much over how long you can continue at this rate, but I'd take a humble guess that you might last six to twelve months before you've got issues that are detrimental to your health.

So, this brings me to this odd observation.  You take a 100,000 charged up guys.....deliver them into the Syrian War for ISIS, and as the months roll by....your force is dissolving month by month.  Somewhere between the 12th and 24th'd have to go back and do a recruiting cycle to bring fresh guys in, and then send the remaining guys into one last battle where they don't return....mostly because you know they've got major brain damage and psychosis.

In a way, they are burning through the enthusiasm and recruits, and not showing anything in return.

These guys in Paris?  Well, no one has said much about tests or autopsy results (it's too early).  But it might well provide some answers to how guys get so charged up and enthusiastic......using a drug to make it possible.  

An agenda surrounded by dopers?  Well, it's best not to bring this'd just worry people even more.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Thing About Privilege

For a number of months, I've been coming across this new term that widely used on the internet...."white privilege".

I sat down today and spent a couple of hours reading over the term, the definition, and the 'fad' that exists over it.

In simple's when a western culture (never an eastern culture)....has privileges which have been generated and it is believed that these privileges are not as widely enjoyed or gained by the non-white members of the same western culture.

These all revolve around cultural values that do exist or in some cases....simply exist in the mind (the ability to buy, the ability to move, the ability to speak freely, the ability to play, the ability to work, etc).

The problem is...."X privilege" has been around for a hundred thousand years.  When Urg walked over the hill and found some nicer territory there, but there was this lesser tribe who seemed volatile.....Urg just used his 'privilege' and some of his guys to establish ownership.  They did this in Africa....Asia.....Europe....the Americas....etc.

"X privilege" existed in Europe when Rome set up its empire and boasted of it's strength. Rome used X privilege to drag the bulk of Rome toward commerce, trade, communication and innovation.

"X privilege" was used in the North Sea region for several hundred years and established successful cultures, vast trade routes, apprenticeship, study, and refinement of society.

"X privilege" has been used over and over.  The real question here to ask....what speed brake do you intend to use and who is in charge of limiting the behavior or speed of "X privilege"?

Will we be shuffling brilliant and stupid professors around.....hoping that the new formula will reverse X and Y privilege?

Will we be taxing successful companies run by X privilege members and rewarding Y privilege members, and who is the guy in charge to determine this?

Finally.....I'll offer this simplistic advice.  If you are in the heart of some concrete 'jungle' where nothing is working.....pack up a bag and leave.  If you are in the midst of a school with loser teachers who've lost their respect and their will to teach.....pack up a bag and leave.  If you've signed up with some stupid college and contemplating debt of $80,000 on your butt with a worthless degree....pack up a bag and leave.  Don't let someone run your decision-making ought to be able to ask stupid questions and get simple answers.

Life isn't about a path that came with a 12-color map, a $99-compass, and a travel-guide who seems to be lacking in common sense and luster but seems to know how to avoid bad stumbles.  Do something.....but don't just stand there waiting.

If you are waiting for 'White  Privilege to be replaced....don't worry, it always gets replaced by another brand or style or variety of privilege.  The thing may not like that one either.